So this week is British Grand Prix week. And during GP week, loads of magazines who have no idea about F1 trot out whoever they think we may have heard of to give some soundbites on F1. It’s a bit formulaic really. In some cases, the same people say the same thing every year, and garner the same reaction. Bernie Ecclestone is a master at it.
But today, an interview has been published by the Radio Times, in which Damon Hill, ex-F1 World Champion, is quoted as saying that driving at 80mph “makes him shudder”, and that most people are such bad drivers, they should not be allowed to do more than 55mph on motorways. He then claims that people don’t concentrate on motorways.
This couldn’t be any more wrong. And frankly, I’d expect Damon Hill to know better.
The reasons driving on the motorway can be stressful are:
- People not paying attention to what’s around them.
- People failing to judge relative speeds.
That’s pretty much it. Well, there’s the old chestnut of trucks overtaking each other with the relative speed difference equal to the margin of error of their speed limiters, but that’s a chat for another day.
Overall, I would say that the standard of driving in the UK is pretty damn bad. Drivers are no longer taught to respect the rule of the road. And the rule of the road was written so long ago as to be all but meaningless. But the real issue with motorway driving is that drivers don’t respect each other. There’s no formal motorway tuition, and it is in fact illegal to take an unqualified driver on the motorway. So your new driver learns to drive in town in a diesel Mini and is then let loose on a motorway network where average speeds are roughly around the limit. Anyone else see a problem here?
It’s endemic. People are not taught how to drive any more. They’re taught the bare minimum required to get through the driving examination. And then they’re left to fend for themselves. You can see it in all the people who bimble down a slip road at 40mph and then shit themselves when they get to the 70mph traffic stream at the bottom. In the people who are so busy focussing on the speed that the Armco is going by, they don’t notice that the relative speed to the car in front isn’t that great.
How about, instead of limiting, restricting, monitoring and fining people, we actually teach them how to fucking drive their four wheeled death machines?
As for Mr Hill, he should really know better